Mar 18, 2012

In Search Of New Red Stripes. Batch Cooking.

The time has come to say goodbye to my red and white striped, almost Breton but more Where's Wally top from Cotton On.  There's no denying the fact that the neckline really has puckered all the way around now.  Its presence will be sorely missed in my weekend wardrobe.  Nothing works as well with dark denim than a red and white stripe.

The challenge will be to find a replacement.  I'm looking for something fitted with 3/4 sleeves and a scoop neck.  Something that fits, basically.  Unfortunately for me, the fashion world has decided that this is the season for mixing it up with striped tops.  Their vision is high necked and baggy with a drop waist.  Apparently to be worn with super short shorts or nothing at all.  I'm always a good few years behind local fashion.  It's one of the constants of my life.  If I bring you a post in a few weeks about my adventures with nautical fashion boutiques, you'll know why.

One trend I seem to have become an early adaptor for is batch cooking.  Apparently, it's 2012's answer to the trauma of trying to put a home cooked meal on the dinner every night.  The idea is that each person in a group makes masses of a dinner which they then swap with other members.  I'm still working on finding people to swap batches of my cooking with but at least I've now got some currency.

Funnily enough, the recipe I'm going to share is from March 2012 Super Food Idea's article on the very topic of batch cooking.  It is a pork sausage and bean soup with basil pesto which is meant to make around 16 serves but only takes an hour or so to whip up.  Don't say I didn't warn you, but large amounts of ingredients are involved...  Nothing a trip to Costco can't solve.

900g of pork and fennel sausages.  I used these containing free range pork.

Then, find lots of cans.  Three of chopped tomatoes and five of four bean mix, I only had 3 and this was plenty.

And 4 trimmed leeks.  As luck would have it, gorgeous looking leeks have suddenly appeared on the supermarket shelves.  Other things you need are 5 stalks of celery chopped, 5 crushed cloves of garlic, 2 litres of chicken stock, 500g of frozen peas and extra cold water.

It's only been five years since mum gave me this stock pot.    Must ring and tell her I've finally used it.

There must be something wrong with my cooking action shot.  It doesn't feature a slow cooker.  I'm growing up as a home cook and venturing into the brave new world of stock pots for soup making.  The instructions call for a 12 litre capacity stock pot and no one was more relieved than I to see that my pot (handed down from mum) fit everything in.

It's a very easy recipe actually. The time sensitive step is browning the sausages in batches.  I was able to do this in my non stick crock pot so it saved having a second pan to wash.  It also gave me some time to get dressed for that lunch in Potts Point.

Dress and necklace - Red Phoenix Emporium (can't wait for your winter 2012 release, ladies), bracelet set - Marni at H+M.

And to return for a photo of my bottom half whilst the second half of the sausages got browned.  And do my hair and make up come to think of it.  The sausages seemed to take forever....

Leggings - Supre, flats - Tory Burch , bag and scarf - Hermes.

After browning the sausages, take them out of the pot and pat down with a paper towel (something I do out of habit) and chop for later.  Then cook the celery, leek and garlic together for a few minutes in some more oil.  Cover for 5 minutes to get the leeks soft.  Then add the tomatoes, beans, stock, water and the sausage.  Simmer for 15 minutes and add the frozen peas in the last 2 minutes.

Then, I left the soup and the house for lunch with Mr SSG.  Not technically part of the recipe instructions but important nonetheless.  It was so wet and dreary yesterday in Sydney, it was an act of superhuman strength to leave the house in an outfit not based upon a pair of track pants and uggs.

We were so ahead of the programme there was time for a cup of tea at the cafe up the road from Ms G's.

Lunch was an adventure and the drive home educational.

Thankfully, the weather did improve as we drove home. Enough for me to spot this educational message about how to spell Woolloomooloo and later to pound the pavement for a bit after yoga.  How else to build up an appetite for dinner?

The soup was amazing.  You must try it for yourselves this winter.  Or perhaps I could make it again and we could swap as part of a batch cooking exercise?

I could even throw in my spare jar of basil pesto with your portion.  Serving the soup with a dollop of pesto and some parmesan isn't just a suggestion, it's mandatory.

Super Food Ideas were not lying when they said the recipe made 16 serves.  I filled 10 soup containers last night and spent another 20 minutes racking through the kitchen cupboards for more containers.  At least I have a few of the week's lunches sorted out.


  1. The death of a favoured garment is always difficult to read. Sob!

    Soup looks good but! x

  2. Hmmm - I have had good luck at Giordano in the past with red and white striped scoop neck tops.  Also try Blue Illusion - I know they have a blue and white striped one at the moment.

    I love batch cooking. It's so comforting having a house full of nourishing, well made food.

    K xx

  3. The soup looks delicious! Always such a shame that cotton on tops just never last :( They do some great basics!

  4. I'm also looking for a red/white stripe fitted top with 3/4 length sleeves and preferably a boat neck but a scoop neck will do:) Let me know if you find one, will you please? The soup looks so delicious, I'm definitely saving the recipe! I'll have to switch the pork sausages for beef ones, though, as my husband don't eat pork due to his arthritis. And you look gorgeous in that outfit!

  5. How about the red and white stripey thing from Remo - pricey but my blue and white stripey thing has been going strong for 10 years now. 


  6. Glassons currently has a red striped scoop neck fitted shirt on sale online for $9.72 however it's short sleeved not 3/4. They have a fitted scoop neck with 3/4 sleeve in red with white stripes for $

    Well hello there Ms Birkin! 

  7. Hi India
    Thanks for the suggestion.  I will have a look.

    SSG xxx

  8. Thank you, Nanne!

    SSG xxx

  9. I have this love hate relationship with Cotton On....

    SSG xxx

  10. Duh!  Blue Illusion are out of my size.  Will track down a Giordano.

    Thanks, K!

    SSG xxx

  11. I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets teary when a favourite item of clothing dies.

    SSG xxx


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